By Carrie Hartin
The winning skillset for your next sales or business development professional is evolving. The skillset has gone from looking for an optimistic extrovert to a professional with core strengths that demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving. As one of my sales managers tells me, these strengths are all tied to a person’s ability to “dance in the gray” — to function and thrive even when they don’t have every detail perfectly in place.
Here is what to look for in your next revenue-producing talent:
Curious: Great talent can ask intelligent questions that build upon the previous inquiry and are designed to extract information that can lead to a solution and a sale. Individuals who are innately curious will seek and extract an incredible amount of information to build a trusted relationship with a prospect. Nimble: Being able to take a core product and know how to appropriately adjust it or build a package around it is what allows a talented sales professional to move quickly and maximize the dollars that they are generating for you. These are also the people who can internalize all of the steps needed to stand up a sales effort for a new event, product, or initiative in two weeks.
Resilient: The resilience I look for today has less to do with the rejection that comes from selling and hearing a no, and more to do with organizational resilience. When you are building new products, testing a new market, or executing on a new event, there are imperfections. A resilient salesperson who is part of a strong organization can weather the ups and downs of developing something new that has unknown results.
Diligent: This is not a new attribute. Revenue production requires a diligent, hardworking individual who is self-motivated to find and create new customers for your organization. They internalize the work and the process and know that it will pay off in new revenue.
Authentic: Winning a big sale requires authentic, trustworthy relationships. A customer will risk investing more with you on a new product, event, or initiative if they have a trusted relationship with your salesperson. A warm, honest personality with genuine interest and concern about what is best for that customer creates reflects this core strength.
Regardless of the number of years of experience that someone brings, these core strengths will help them to deliver a smart, productive sales effort. Best of all, these strengths can be modeled and learned, because the best talent can adapt their way of thinking as well as their way of selling to understand the nuances of each customers and solve every meaningful business or marketing challenge they face.
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